Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
I started a series to check in on the Toronto Blue Jays top prospects by looking at the Honourable Mentions. Ryan Mueller (@MuellerRyan11) ranked 26-30. Wednesday, Michael Wray (@Wrayzerblade) gave you 21-25. Here is the list we are working with, in case you missed it: 2014 Blue Jays top prospect list.
Since 2014 began, the Blue Jays have added outfielders Matt Tuiasosopo and Darin Mastroianni. And, in 29 games, Pillar has not really done much to show he is better than those guys. He has yet to hit a homerun. But, if we look a bit closer, we see that he has more than a hit per game. This may have a lot to do with his recent 18 game hit streak that came to an end Thursday night. In the outfield, Pillar has committed 2 errors. Considering the Blue Jays have lost Moises Sierra to a waiver claim by the Minnesota Twins, Pillar may not be far from a return to Rogers Centre should the injury bug bite the big league club’s outfield. Having said that, he still has not stated his case for being the automatic call up.
Dwight Smith Jr. heading to the batting cage during minor league spring training, 2012 (Image via MLBProspectPortal.com)
Dwight Smith Jr. is part of the machine of a team in Dunedin. The Baby Jays are tearing up the Florida State League with a 25-8 record as of Thursday. Among others, Smith Jr is playing a big role in this great season. He sits at the top of the lineup and is leading off superbly. He’s averaging almost a 10% walk rate, which I’d like to see come up a bit. But, that is just being picky. He’s not striking out a ton. And when he gets on base, he is a threat to steal. He’s got 5 on the year. That puts him 10 behind the team leader…more on THAT guy in a bit. Smith Jr is has the team lead in HR (4), 2nd in RBI (20), 1st in runs scored (23) and 2nd in average (.303). At just 21, he has time and room to grow. His “power” has been questioned before, and so far he’s got 11 extra base hits, including 2 triples. For an outfielder, you’d like to see more pop.
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
At 23, Stilson may be in line for a call up to the big league club this season. That is if he can get over his early AAA struggles. So far in 2014, he’s allowed far too many walks (7) and even more hits (17) in just 12 2/3 innings. His K/9 numbers are tantalizing, though. If he can regain an ability to miss bats while not missing the strike zone, he could be in line for a promotion. We all know how injuries can bite. Depending on how things play out in the bullpen, and if Stilson can figure things out, we still could see him in a Blue Jays uniform.
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Oh, man. I am so pumped that Pompey happened to be in the group of prospects I was checking in on. I am so excited to see how he progresses through the Blue Jays system. And early indications may tell us that it may be quickly. The 21 year old Canadian is ON FIRE! He is leading the stacked Dunedin Blue Jays in average, 2nd in runs, 3rd in RBI and 1st in stolen bases with 15! He has just 9 extra base hits, but that is not his game. He’s speed. Period. Jays Journal was lucky enough to get an interview with him just a little while ago. In it, he describes his approach to base stealing, among other things. Like Dwight Smith Jr., Pompey is a key factor in the Baby Jays’ success. I would like to see him cut down on the strikeouts. Nearly one per game is too many. Pompey is also playing a flawless CF for the Blue Jays. In fact, he was awarded his Gold Glove for his play with Lansing last year. It is awarded to the best defensive player in the minors.
Matt Dean of the Bluefield Blue Jays swings at a pitch in Bluefield, WV on July 20, 2013. Mandatory Credit: Jay Blue
Name: Matt Dean
Top Prospect Rank: 16
I happened to check in via internet radio on the Lugnuts win Wednesday night. It was the 8th inning and the Lugnuts were in the process of padding their lead by 5 runs. Matt Dean was a big part of that hitting a 2 RBI triple. It was his third. The 21 year old is hitting better than one per game, but is also striking out more than once per game. A good sign is that 40% of his hits have been for extra bases. That kind of pop is nice to see for a corner infielder. As one would expect of a corner infielder though, his speed has been almost non-existent. He’s played most of his games at first base. but, it hasn’t exactly been pretty. He’s committed 5 errors at first. While power and ‘pop’ are nice, they can only take you so far. The question is: How far will it take Matt Dean?